On the 27th July 2022
the Central Statistics Office (CSO) confirmed that the prices for consumer goods and services increased by 9.1% in the year up to June 2022. The CPI findings confirmed that the cost of energy as well as transport related price changes, were the primary drivers for the increased cost of living. Low-income households are now experiencing inflation rates of up to 10.3% compared to 8.2% for the highest income households.
What does this mean for the Irish workforce?
As a recruitment agency we at Hall Recruitment, have noticed an increase in retired men and women, in the 60+ age category, returning to the workforce as a direct result of the increased cost of living. In an employee market, where >90% of the workforce are looking for a hybrid work environment, for full results see our previous study, this gives employers some hope to fill their office-based vacancies with experienced candidates who may not have previously associated their careers with hybrid or working-from-home (WFH) environments and as a result would be happy to accept an office-based position.
With this influx of mature and highly skilled applicants to the workforce this has the potential to directly effect graduates who are just entering the employment market. Where graduates possess the most relevant qualifications for entry level positions, mature once retired candidates are also targeting these roles. Being out of the workforce for several years they may not be up to date with the latest software or technology required for more senior roles and are therefore willing to adjust their expectations for more junior positions. Employers may choose to hire a mature candidate because of their lifetime of practical work-experience, which unfortunately graduates cannot compete with.
In our recent survey we asked the public how they felt about retired individuals returning to the workforce. 100% of the 40-60-year demographic were happy to see retired people return to the workforce. However, 66.67% of 35–39-year demographic felt bad that retirees were forced to return to the workforce due to the increased cost of living and 100% of 30–34-year demographic were undecided about the retirees returning to the workforce at all.
When asked if they felt employers would choose to hire older candidates to younger candidates. 70% of those surveyed felt that employers would prefer to hire younger applicants. This result highlights an age bias amongst our population against hiring mature candidates. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) concluded in a survey regarding the ageing American workforce
However, is this the reality for our mature Irish workforce? The older generations have lived through the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger, adapted and survived through multiple recessions while raising their families, fought for civil rights and were there at ground zero for the creation of the internet!
The Irish unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8%, as of April 2022. It is an employee market. Whilst desirable, young & highly skilled candidates are holding out for well-paid hybrid or WFH positions. Employers may be delighted to have the option of an experienced mature candidate who is willing to accept an office-based position.